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Spring 2012 Courses

Department of History


History 2110: United States History, 1877-2012 - Robert McElvaine, T Th 10 + W 12
This course undertakes an exploration of the American experience from the end of Reconstruction to the continuing attempts to achieve reconstruction of the nation's economy in the wake of the economic collapse of 2008. It seeks to provide students with a broad overview of the development of the United States through the industrialization of the late nineteenth century, the Populist and Progressive reform eras, World War I, the prosperity and depression of the 1920s and '30s, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the age of domestic affluence and international power of the '50s and '60s, the attempts to come to grips with an age of limits in the '70s, the refusal to do so in the '80s, through the post-Cold War '90s and the first decade-plus of the new millennium.

History 2350: European Civilization Since 1789 - Amy Forbes, MWF 10:00
This course surveys European history from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment to the present. Europe has played a crucial role in the world's cultural, economic and political history during the past three centuries. As historians of the development of modern European culture we will be particularly interested in examining a wide-ranging set of "isms" that have given shape to European society -- from absolutism, republicanism, liberalism, romanticism, and socialism to totalitarianism, modernism, existentialism, and globalism.

History 2400: African History - David Davis, MWF 11:00
This course is an interdisciplinary survey of major themes in African history from the earliest records of human activity on the continent to the recent struggles in South Africa. Literature, music, art, and popular culture will be studied as ways of understanding the complex contemporary issues faced by Africans.

History 2610: Modern Latin America - Andrew Paxman, T Th 2:45 to 4:00
Revolutions and more revolutions! But that's only part of the history of modern Latin America. We'll also look at charismatic dictators, defiant women, masters and slaves, communists and capitalists, and the colossal influence (for good and bad) of the United States.

History 3100: Gilded Age/Progressive Era - Stephanie Rolph, M W 1:00 to 2:15
This class has it all! Sex! Violence! Imperialism! Teddy Roosevelt! Sandwiched between Reconstruction and World War I, the Gilded Age/Progressive Era in American history heralded the world's modern age. Accompanied by industrialism, scientific advance, Victorianism and unprecedented levels of immigration, the era included new ideas about government, morality, wealth and American identity. Beginning with the industrial economy we will explore the possibilities and limits of reform, the changing meaning of "American", and the consequences of American imperialism as World War I loomed large.

History 3140: Civil War and Reconstruction - Stephanie Rolph, MWF 9
There was a lot more to the Civil War than Confederates and Yankees. This class explores the Civil War as a complicated moment in American history, one that challenged ideas about power, politics, race and gender. In its course, the Civil War accelerated changes long in the making. We will examine the Civil War and Reconstruction as more than a military conflict. It was the end of America's beginning.

History 3220: The Forties & Fifties - Robert McElvaine, T Th 1 + W 7 PM
The two decades between 1940 and 1960 witnessed some of the most dramatic changes in American history. The Second World War saw America rise to global dominance, thanks in part to the development of nuclear weapons, which presented the real possibility of the end of all life on earth. At home, in an atmosphere of conformity, women and African-Americans pushed for equal rights, while rock-and-roll and television transformed popular culture.

History 3310: Britain and the World, 1688-1914 - William Storey, MW 1:00 to 2:40
Over the course of four centuries, Great Britain acquired and then lost the largest empire that the world has ever known. The British exerted a significant cultural and economic influence over many different countries. The Empire's legacy is profound and can be seen in all aspects of life around the globe.

History 3720: Biography as History - Andrew Paxman, T Th 2:45 to 4:00
Biography is a staple of best-seller lists, so why not write one yourself? In the first half of the semester we'll read the biographies of historical figures and watch several biographical films. In the second half, you will become the biographer, using a mix of periodical, archival, and (where appropriate) oral sources.

History 3750: Food and Power - Drew Swanson, T Th 10 + W 12
What should we eat, and where will we get it? Want to learn where your food comes from, how it was raised, and what it means (and has meant in the past)? Come join in a discussion of food history, ranging from farming to migrant labor to industrial poultry plants, and find out why food and power - of all sorts - have so often been connected.

History 3760: The Second World War - William Storey, T Th 1:00 to 2:40
This course will survey the history of the Second World War from a global perspective. Unlike many courses on the Second World War that focus on Europe and the United States, we will pay equal attention to Asia and we will also examine the impact of the war on Africa.

History 4750: Race, Power, and Museums: Introduction to Public History - William Storey, T Th 8:30 to 9:55
Museums have become one of the most important ways in which the public examines history. How do museums attract wide audiences while maintaining professional standards? And what is the role of material objects in historical interpretation? Students will visit historical museums in the Jackson area and will also create their own museum exhibit.